PorchLight Statement on Johnson v Grants Pass

Johnson v. Grants Pass is the most important Supreme Court case about homelessness in 40 years. The decision to lift the ban on the criminalization of homelessness is deeply disappointing and represents a significant step backward in our efforts to build a compassionate and inclusive society. Criminalizing homelessness does nothing to address the underlying issues, such as lack of affordable housing, inadequate mental health services, and insufficient employment opportunities. Instead, it punishes individuals for their circumstances, further entrenching them in a cycle of poverty and marginalization.

What this means for the Eastside, in particular, is unclear at this point. This is a heavy blow to our unhoused neighbors who do not have shelter – especially those who are disproportionately represented amongst those experiencing homelessness – people of color, older adults, and LGBTQ+ people. While we appreciate Justice Sonia Sotomayer’s sentiments, we are deeply saddened and concerned that her colleagues do not share her sentiments.

“Sleep is a biological necessity, not a crime.”

This decision undermines the progress we have made in supporting our most vulnerable populations and fails to recognize every person’s fundamental human rights and dignity. This decision will make ending homelessness significantly more challenging for everyone trying to address this issue. But it will not undermine our resolve or lessen our commitment at PorchLight to continue to impact homelessness on the Eastside.


S. Troy Christensen, Executive Director